Econsult Botswana MD Keith Jefferis says in order to avert further closure of mines, it is essential for mining companies to be low cost producers. Jefferis said this last week at the Botswana Resource Sector Conference.
According to Jefferis, it would be imprudent deviation if Botswana, as a mining country, adopts the business as usual approach and continues without being a low cost producer.
“If we think we can continue as a mining country without being a low-cost producer, that will be a big mistake,” Jefferis said. He said 2015 was a bad year for the mining sector as highlighted by the numerous mine closures. He said the closures were mainly as a result of the absence of distinct vision.
In clear cut terms, Jefferis also said that mining will not solve the unemployment problem and government will have to look elsewhere in order to address the unemployment problem.
Another speaker, Botswana Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Charles Siwawa said although Botswana has significant mineral resources, they can only add real value to the country’s economy through extraction, processing as well as selling of the finished product to an end user. He said the real challenge was to ensure that mines could survive in tough times to enable them to thrive in times of plenty.
“A sectoral development plan for diamonds which looks at effectively lowering production costs while raising the potential of other diamond beneficiation activities beyond cutting and polishing, should be the preferred approach to the development of the industry,” he advised.